Religion and Barack Obama
What is it he really believes and why?
All contents copyright © 2015 by M.L. Wilson. All rights reserved. No part of this document or the related files may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher.
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Sometime in January 2015, the group known as ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) murdered a Jordanian pilot whose F-16 Fighter Jet had been shot down during a bombing run on December 24th, 2014. First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh was a 27 year old pilot in the Jordanian Air Force fighting back against the burgeoning Islamic State which has already taken over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. His fate was unknown to his country and his family until a video of his gruesome execution was uploaded to the Internet on February 3rd, 2015.
The video quickly went viral—as was the intention of the Islamic terrorists who had recorded the pilot’s death in Hollywood quality detail. It was clear that in this stylized presentation of First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh’s execution, a new dimension had been added to the mix. Gone were the grainy, shaky smartphone videos of the executions which are now commonplace within those areas controlled by Muslims. Instead they have been replaced with High Definition, highspeed cameras and recording equipment to cause the maximum impact in the West as is possible. The slick presentation and the attendant propaganda would have made Joseph Goebbels proud.
Jordan's King Abdullah II was properly outraged at the spectacle and made his thoughts on the subject known swiftly by executing two members of al Qaeda which had been held since a foiled suicide plot in 2005. There had been moves on the part of Jordan to exchange First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh for the captured al Qaeda terrorists, but evidently ISIS believed they could get far more mileage out of the burning death of al-Kasasbeh than exchanging him for two people who should have already been dead anyway.
The video execution has found a home on the Internet and every news outlet worldwide. There is no doubt it has set the bar for filmed executions for years to come. Outrage over the death hasn’t been unanimous, however. Obviously those pro-ISIS groups have applauded and cheered al-Kasasbeh’s death, but it is the pockets of extremists Muslims and Islamic sympathizers within the United States and Europe which is most troublesome. One such individual appears to be the United States President, Barack Hussein Obama.
Obama’s own personal religious history is already well known at this point even if he isn’t eager to speak on the subject. His father, Barack Obama Sr. was a Muslim from Kenya as was his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro. A young Barack Obama was raised primarily in a Muslim household in Jakarta, Indonesia—a Muslim country by his mother and step-father. It wasn’t until he was a ten years of age when he returned to live with his maternal grandparents in Hawaii. His mother and step-father remained behind in Indonesia, both pursuing their careers.
Obama’s religious exposure during his time with his maternal grandparents was through the Unitarian Church. The Dunhams were described by Barack Obama in his book, “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” as willing to sample religions as one would sample cuisines. He reiterates this religious sampling in his subsequent book, “The Audacity of Hope” where he states that his mother, Ann Dunham, would be just as likely to take him to a traditional Christian Church or a Buddhist Temple for Easter or Christmas celebrations.
While there is nothing necessarily wrong with learning about other faiths (I have done much study of other faiths myself), there was no formative grounding in the teachings of Christ for young Barry Soetoro. One can look at Obama’s own words in his two autobiographical books to see very clearly that outside of Islam, he experienced no formal Christian teaching. Does this formative teaching mean he couldn’t have had a later conversion and embraced Christianity as he claims? Of course not; most people continue to grow and mature throughout their lives. I point out this spiritual journey of Obama’s only to expand his claims to the contrary.
If it is clear that up through the beginning of his college years Barack Obama’s religious experiences could be described as eclectic at best, then it should be agreed that Christianity was but one small sampling amidst many different religions—with the study of Islam being the primary force. So what changed when he reached collage?
There is little doubt that Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, had an impact on his life. In a very real sense, she was the only mother he had ever known. Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham was busy with her own life and career and was with her son only sporadically from 1971 onward. However his mother left her mark on Obama’s consciousness as well. As he explained in his book, “The Audacity of Hope,” his mother was the most spiritually awakened person he has ever known: “… she possessed an abiding sense of wonder, a reverence for life and its precious, transitory nature that could properly be described as devotional.” While his mother didn’t adhere to any particular organized religious beliefs, she seemed to have a direction and a commitment to those ends, those being a sense of Social Justice.
None of this translated into any great spiritual awakening for Obama once he reached college, however. He studied philosophy in an attempt to make sense out of life and his place in it. At the end of the day, he was still a boy who had been rejected by his birth father, abandoned repeatedly by his birth mother and separated from his step-father. By the time he was in college, Obama had come to understand that most people—despite what they said to his face, were actually out for themselves.
The people of faith he encountered in Chicago seemed to lack the zeal he found in his mother. His own religious journey of sampling different religions had come back to put him in a role more as an observer, than as a participant. Again in his book, “The Audacity of Hope” he explains that without a vessel, an unequivocal commitment to a particular community of faith, he would be “… consigned at some level to always remain apart, free in the way that my mother was free, but also alone in the same ways she was ultimately alone.”
Part of Obama’s self-discovery eventually led him to Trinity United Church of Christ. On some level which had eluded him through most of his life, the philosophy of the church as expressed through its very charismatic leader, Jeremiah Wright, touched him in a way none of the earlier religious samplings had. Obama described the church and Wright as “…like family” to him.
Jeremiah Wright had taken over as the lead pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in 1972. At that time, the church had a membership of approximately 250, though only about ninety people were regular attendees. Wright’s scholarly pedigree is impressive with a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in English from Howard University. An additional Master’s degree was attained from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the United Theological Seminary. He has subsequently taught at Chicago Theological Seminary, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and City Colleges of Chicago.
Despite this background in what would be regarded as Christian-based theological training, Trinity United Church of Christ’s mission statement is based upon the teachings of Black Liberation Theology. Thus what a young and still evidently impressionable Barack Obama entered into when he decided to make Jeremiah Wright his mentor and Trinity United Church of Christ his “family” was less a Christian environment as outlined by the New Testament Gospels, and more of a Social Justice concept with a singular goal of liberating Blacks from the constraints placed upon them by Whites and the ugly history of slavery.
Black Liberation Theology can be traced back to a group of 51 concerned clergy who called themselves The National Committee of Negro Churchmen. This group bought a full page ad in the July 31st 1966 edition of the New York Times to publish their “Black Power Statement,” which proposed a more aggressive approach to combating racism using the Bible for inspiration.
Anyone even vaguely familiar with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States understands that the 1960’s were a tumultuous time for Blacks. Too many anti-Christian ideas had been adopted by narrow-minded bigots to support inequality between the various ethnicities (I do not use the term race as we are all but one race: Human. Ethnicity is a better term). While such people used the Bible to support their views that Blacks and other ethnicities were essentially “sub-human,” it is of note that all such people had to go to the pages of the Old Testament to do so. Such teachings are not evident within the Gospels or the Epistles of the New Testament. Why does that matter? If it’s in the Bible, it’s in the Bible. Well yes and no. Let me explain.
Without belaboring the construction of the canonical scriptures here in this commentary (much of that was covered in my earlier commentary which can be found here: http://thegodprinciplebook.blogspot.com/2014/02/is-bible-inerrant-all-contents.html ), it must be understood that Jesus Christ came and fulfilled the Law. As the Apostle Paul points out in his letter to the Church of Colossi:
“God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the Powers and Authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” - Colossians 2:13-15
The teachings of the Old Covenant are no longer binding to us as Christians. I realize that this is radical thinking to many good people of God, but it is never the less the truth. Paul explained quite clearly that:
“All who rely on observing the Law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ Clearly no one is justified before God by the Law, because, ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ The Law is not based on faith; quite the contrary. ‘The man who does these things will live by them.’ Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse for us …”
- Galatians 3:10-13
Paul also goes onto explain that because we are no longer operating under the constraints and limitations of the Old Covenant and its Laws, we are viewed en masse by Jesus Christ far differently than was humanity viewed by the Old Testament God.
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave no free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
- Galatians 3:26-28
When we feel we have been wronged, we want to correct the error. If such correction is ignored, we then have a tendency to want to lash out; to enforce our view of what is good and true on those we see as abusing the truth. This is human nature and in and of itself is perfectly normal. Black Liberation Theology saw a situation in which mere prayer wasn’t yielding the results desired and decided to try a different tactic. One can agree or disagree with such tactics, but is such at its heart a Christian philosophy? Is using the scriptures and Christ’s teachings in a manner to marginalize others while promoting self any different than those who have wrongly applied outdated and obsolete scriptures to justify all manner of horror upon their fellow man?
I recently read the autobiography of Harriet Ann Jacobs titled, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself” One of the most heartbreaking passages in this book when she had finally decided to escape her master and fled. The plan didn’t work out as well as she would have liked and she wound up having to eventually hide herself in the attic space of her grandmother’s house. She remained in this small space for seven years while she had to watch her son grow up, catching only fleeting glimpses of him over the years through cracks in the siding.
Jacob’s master at this point in her life was a man named Dr. James Norcom. Despite being widely admired, Norcom had a dark side to him which was evidently overlooked by his compatriots. A member of the Episcopal Church, Norcom seemed to express none of the Christian teachings he’d received (if any) through the church to his slaves. Instead he looked upon Jacobs—and other female slaves—as little more than sexual playthings. He had many out of wedlock children which the church completely ignored. In light of Christ’s teachings as highlighted by the Apostle Paul, how can this behavior be reconciled and regarded as Christian? As a point of fact, it cannot.
While there was widespread “racism” and bigotry in the history of the United States, it is unfair to say that all “Whites” held such a view. Many, many white people fought and died to rid the nation of the scourge of slavery. A personal anecdote from my family tree: The Wilson family owned several slaves, including a mother and son, in the mid-1850s. By all accounts, these slaves were regarded as family and treated as such. When the old Wilson patriarch died, he left these slaves to his sons. However he had more sons than he did slaves so those who did not receive slaves were given the cash value of a slave instead.
My great, great, great Uncle was busy putting together a militia in the anticipated chance that the Union would fracture. He had no time to care for slaves and was not in agreement with the entire notion of slavery in any respect. He paid for the slave’s freedom out of his own pocket—a sum which was $1300.00 for the mother and son. One of the other slaves, a man in his early twenty’s, was also freed and joined his militia to help the fight against the Southern States should they break away from the Union.
This is but one story I know of personally because it is a part of my family lineage. I am well aware of the fact that views were different towards different people back then than it is today. However there are many countries all over the world in which slavery is still very much alive. Most of those countries are Islamic, not Christian. Despite the fact that it was perfectly acceptable in Kentucky in 1858 to own slaves and not one person would have batted an eye had my ancestor decided to keep the slaves he inherited, he and his brothers eventually opted to give them their freedom. They were the radicals of their day and expressed the truth of Christianity. I point this out only to say that to paint an entire ethnicity with so broad a brush is not of Christ whether one is Black or White.
The brand of Black Liberation Theology which Barack Obama was taught by Jeremiah Wright at Trinity United Church of Christ was anything but Christian. One could easily look at such teaching as on par with the stunted, bunkered, homophobic and erroneous teaching which was spewed out of the mouth of “Pastor” Fred Phelps of the Westborough Baptist Church of Kansas from 1954 until his death in 2014. How can anyone honestly say that either Pastor is really teaching Christ when one vilifies homosexuals, stating that God hates them all and desires to kill them and the other man vilifies all white people because they are all racist slaveholders who do not see Blacks as people?
How would people see Barack Obama had he studied under Fred Phelps and attended the Westborough Baptist Church rather than Jeremiah Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ? Would he have even been taken seriously as a candidate? It is highly unlikely. Since the late 1990s when the growth of the Internet gave Phelps a higher profile than he had ever enjoyed previously, Westborough Baptist Church has been labeled the church of intolerance and hate. Again how is their philosophy any different than that of Trinity United Church of Christ? I would submit that when one looks objectively at both bodies and the tenets of their particular beliefs, hate and intolerance predominates in both.
Out of this cauldron of hatred has emerged the Barack Obama who can look into the camera and make a comparison between Christianity and Islamic Terrorists—not Islam, mind you, but only these particular terrorists. Obama, for as much “sampling” of other religions as he has done, has clearly found some sympathy with Islam. This is not surprising as once again, this was his formative religious teaching; Islam for him is like going home.
Black Liberation Theology is not a Christ-centered teaching and as it is more a Social Justice philosophy, Obama is perfectly content to declare himself a “Christian” while being blinded to the horrors which are the tenets of Islam. Ignored by Obama are the passages which condone slavery, subjugation of females, pedophilia, misogyny, and a host of execution methods which are all a part of the Qur’an and the Hadiths; the essential tenets of the Islamic faith.
Obama failed to explain why ISIS executed this Jordanian pilot in the manner in which they did. I’m certain he must know, but he didn’t even broach the subject. We have seen ISIS execute one hapless man after another through beheading. Suddenly we’re exposed to the spectacle of a man led to a cage, doused with an accelerant and set ablaze. After he has died, he and the cage are crushed by rubble and buried in the desert. Why the theatrics? What changed?
The answer lies in the tenets of Islam which were ignored by Obama in his pathetic speech. The term which is best described as “an eye for an eye” in Islam is called Qasas. (قصاص) as mentioned in Qur'an, 2:178:
“O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution (Qasas) for those murdered – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But whoever overlooks from his brother anything, then there should be a suitable follow-up and payment to him with good conduct. This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. But whoever transgresses after that will have a painful punishment."
As a part of Sharia Law, First Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh was to be executed in the same manner in which he brought death. As a bomber pilot, al-Kasasbeh’s ordinance exploded buildings, started fires, burned people to death and caused others to die under the rubble of those collapsed buildings only to then be buried. This was indeed an “Eye for an Eye” execution, the symbology of which was lost on most of the West. I seriously doubt that it escaped Obama’s notice, however; pointing out such would not have helped his Social Justice narrative.
Barack Obama has grown very comfortable criticizing Christianity even though he claims to be a Christian. Nothing he has done as an Illinois State legislator, Senator or President has shown he has a grasp of any teachings of Christ. He has sought only to divide and impart punishment unto those he deems unsuitable to his cause. In this, Barack Obama shares much of the same temperament as does the God of the Old Testament, of Allah in the Qur’an, but nothing of Jesus Christ.
The argument he raised, conflating the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition with the acts of barbarism displayed liberally by Islamic followers is a strawman argument. I reiterate that the essential tenets of Islam are being followed by these terrorists. I have cited (and can cite even more) scripture from the Qur’an and the Hadiths to support the fact that the essential tenets of Islam are to eradicate all who do not believe as they do. (For a more in-depth look at Islam, my earlier commentary can be found here: http://thegodprinciplebook.blogspot.com/2014/09/islam-who-are-real-radicals-all.html )
Obama’s argument citing comparisons can only be genuine if he also compares the tenets of each teaching. This he refused to do. When one scours the New Testament looking for teaching whereupon Christ instructs his followers to kill others, one is going to come up empty-handed; there are no such teachings anywhere period.
At this point, more than six years into his presidency, Obama’s Progressive Liberal leanings are well known. His knowledge of the tactics of Saul Alinsky has been put to good use, helping to get him reelected. In large measure, ISIS has been allowed to blossom as a direct result of a move Obama made in order to ensure his reelection: Pulling troops out of Iraq prematurely. Against the advice of his senior military officers, Barack Obama pulled out our troops and allowed the gains to secure a stable country in a very unstable region to completely evaporate overnight. Obviously he didn’t see it quite that way, but the fruits of his actions are evident in the numerous gruesome deaths which have followed in ISIS’s rise to dominance.
In a week which saw Obama show only utter disrespect and contempt for a longstanding ally in the Middle East, that of Israel and their Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ISIS pounced and released the snuff film now seen around the world. Whereas Jordan’s King Abdullah II as well as Netanyahu voiced their absolute disgust at ISIS and vowed the craven terrorists would not go unpunished, Barack Obama measured his words carefully and levied no real blame on them at all.
The final veil of doubt as to where Obama’s sympathies lie fell away from his face at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. While he had harsh words for those particular “militants” who had committed the crime, he refused to acknowledge what everyone else in the room seemed to understand quite well: ISIS is a revolutionary Islamic movement not populated with crazies, but rather with fundamentalist ideologues who have shown quite clearly that they mean serious business.
Has Barack Obama abrogated his responsibility to be the president to all citizens of the United States? Given his actions—especially those he has taken since his re-election, it certainly seems so. Further his insincerity with respect to Christianity AND Islam show a man who has no problem lying to the public in order to create a specific image of himself and his ideology. While we have come to expect such lying behavior of our public servants, it does not make it right. An honorable person wouldn’t even consider such behavior, but then we have seen nothing but subterfuge with this particular man.
Since Mr. Obama is so fond of conflating the Old Testament God with that of the terrorist’s actions, I thought it only fitting to point out these scripture verses:
“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment” - Proverbs 12:19
“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.” - Proverbs 12:22
"And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers."
- Qur’an 3:54
"He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar."
- Bukhari 49:857
As a Christian, Mr. Obama should be crystal clear in his intents. Lying should not be a part of his routine. While I am not so naïve as to believe that he is to disclose all to everyone (he is also the Commander-in-Chief and discretion is a part of the job), I do not subscribe to the notion that he must lie to prop up his ideological beliefs. If such beliefs have merit, then they should stand on truth. If they do not, lying only delays the inevitable.
I close with these pieces of scripture from the Apostle Paul. If Barack Obama is truly interested in justice, he would do well to really study Christianity as the relationship it is meant to be to us all, rather than as a weapon to destroy his enemies. Christianity is not Islam and never can be; the two ideologies stand in complete and total opposition to one another. Only those who have not studied the two faiths do not know this. Those who have yet continue to assert they are alike, are lying to themselves and to everyone else.
“I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscious confirms it in the Holy Spirit…”
- Roman 9:1
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” - Galatians 5:22-23